Gronholm in comfortable lead

Marcus Gronholm has moved into a comfortable lead early on the second day of the Rally Finland, after main rival Sebastien Loeb lost ground after hitting a rock

Gronholm in comfortable lead

Like yesterday, Gronholm and Loeb were both virtually matching each other for pace, with Gronholm winning the 19.9km Vaheri stage before Loeb hit back with the fastest time over the 13.97km Ouninpohja Lansi 1 stage.

However, the face of the rally changed through SS12, the 16.54km run through Ouninpohja Ita 2, where both Gronholm and Loeb hit the same rock 5km from the end of the stage.

Gronholm escaped without much damage and went on to win the stage, however Loeb punctured a tyre, which was too badly damaged for the anti-deflation mousse to successfully deploy. He finished the stage on three wheels, losing more than 30 seconds to Gronholm.

Loeb is now 44.8 seconds behind Gronholm, and barring disaster for Gronholm, his chances of victory have all but evaporated.

Mikko Hirvonen continues to hold down a comfortable third position despite suffering from a broken windscreen this morning.

Henning Solberg's OMV Peugeot has moved into fourth after the demise of his brother Petter.

Petter crashed approximately 700m after the start of SS11 when the rear of his Subaru Impreza WRC drifted wide over a crest and touched a bank, launching the vehicle into a series of rolls.

Solberg and co-driver Phil Mills were uninjured in the crash, but their Impreza was too badly damaged to continue.

It was a disappointing morning for Subaru all round, with Solberg's teammate Chris Atkinson being awarded 30 seconds of penalty time after leaving this morning's service period late to fix a gear selection problem.

The Australian continued to suffer this problem in the stage, and he pulled over several times to try and make repairs and let other cars pass.

After selecting third gear only, he limped across the line almost seven minutes slower that Gronholm and continued to lose time on the following stages.

Dani Sordo has moved into fifth in the second Citroen Xsara, with the privateer Peugeot of Gigi Galli up to sixth. Galli put in a strong performance in SS12, recording the second fastest time.

Pos Driver Make Time 1. Gronholm Ford 1h37:13.2 2. Loeb Citroen + 44.8 3. Hirvonen Ford + 1:16.5 4. Solberg Peugeot + 2:42.0 5. Sordo Citroen + 3:39.1 6. Galli Peugeot + 3:46.3 7. Tuohino Citroen + 4:17.8 8. Valimaki Mitsubishi + 4:20.8 9. Kopecky Skoda + 6:26.4 10. Latvala Toyota + 6:37.2 11. Wilson Ford + 10:00.2 12. Stohl Peugeot + 10:35.4 13. Flodin Subaru + 11:03.1 14. Alen Subaru + 11:03.6 15. Meeke Citroen + 13:00.3 
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Gronholm just holds overnight lead

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